The story appears on

Page B5

October 20, 2016

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » iDEAL

Smooth, timeless music at The Langham, Shanghai

BAHAMIAN singer, songwriter and producer Akia Knowles described her vocal style with four words: sultry, smooth, unique and timeless.

The vocalist has recently started a new chapter as the resident vocalist at the Lobby Lounge at The Langham Shanghai, Xintiandi, where she performs songs, from classics, R&B, soul to jazz, with a voice that comes from her heart.

Before coming to Shanghai, Akia was the resident vocalist at Duke’s at The Langham, Shenzhen, for almost three years, where her singing was widely recognized by local audiences. Akia said she expects to perform as resident vocalist at the Lobby Lounge of the hotel in Shanghai for a period of time.

Born in Nassau, the Bahamas, Akia, began studying the piano at the age of 5 with her mother, a music teacher.

“I was rebellious when I was 13 and quit for a while, but she forced me to continue when I was 16, and I’m so glad she did, because it’s something I’m really good at,” says Akia.

While a piano major at the College of the Bahamas, a professor took note of her clear, pure voice and musicality honed from years of playing the piano, and encouraged her to try vocals.

In 2000, Akia took the Trinity College of London’s vocal music examination, garnering the highest score as a vocalist worldwide and an award. But she turned down the scholarship and began a career as a music teacher and vocalist, performing in Bahamas and around the world.

“Everything that I have learned, all the technicality, reading notes and terms, I don’t use any of that on stage when I perform, I literally play from the heart. If I did everything I was taught at school, my musical interpretation wouldn’t be the same,” she said.

One thing Akia loves about jazz is that it takes on a life of its own.

“I can do a blend of musical genres, including jazz, soul, pop, R&B, classic and more,” she said.

Although she produced her first album, “Intimacy with Him,” in 2007, she decided to pursue her dreams as an entertainer. She explains, “You get your energy from the audience, so when you have a good audience the energy is amazing, whereas in the studio it’s very manufactured. When it’s live you are singing from emotion, and anything can happen live,” she explained.

Her musical inspiration is Ella Fitzgerald, the American jazz singer known as First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz. “One thing I love about Ella is she could imitate anything and any sound, I think she was brilliant, I listen to a lot of other singers but she’s my favorite,” said Akia.

“But the most influential musician in my life would have to be my mom, because she shaped me and she played everything from piano, violin to clarinet.”

Akia performs from 7:30pm onward from Monday to Thursday, and 8pm onward on Friday and Saturday every week at the Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi. Providing all-day light dining featuring international cuisine, the Lobby Lounge is perhaps best known in the city for its signature afternoon tea. But as the resident vocalist, Akia’s performance brings a unique wining and dining experience for guests with her passion and heartfelt singing.

“I love performing here, because every night is a new script with new people and a new opportunity to liven up the place, I love it and I just think The Langham brand is amazing, and I feel that when you come to the Lobby Lounge it’s an experience,” Akia said.

Address: 99 Madang Rd

Reservations at the Lobby Lounge:


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend